Nearly two weeks after the tsunami drowned the coastal cities of northern Japan, I am still unable to wrap my brain around most of the images I see and the stories I hear. But two arrived yesterday—one by webvideo, the other by email—that are helping me see a little further. And both had to do with natural instincts.
The first was a letter emailed from Saito and forwarded to me by my brother. It details the everyday goings-on of the city that is no more. And it focuses on the many kindnesses being shown. Of the farmer from the higher country who brings produce several times each week and gives it away. Of those with homes reaching out to those without. Of meals being left on doorsteps without fanfare. Instinctively, people know what is needed and are acting on that knowledge to lighten each other’s burden.
The second was a clip I watched on CNN.com http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/03/21/todd.japan.search.and.rescue.dogs.cnn?hpt=C2 about the search and rescue dogs working the disaster areas. Labs, German shepherds, border collies—they’ve been putting their hearts, souls and noses into action here, just as they did in Haiti, to find both the living and the dead. Divinely designed for the treacherous task, they leap and balance and dig and signal with such grace. And just as capably, they comfort the survivors sorely in need of what my family calls a “fur-fix.” Like their human counterparts, they naturally know what is needed.
Both messages support my long-held sense that emotion-guided actions—such as kindness—are built-in to our beings, whether we are of the human, canine or other variety. It’s a topic which Dr. Priscilla Stuckey addresses beautifully here: http://thislivelyearth.com/2010/10/02/kindness-an-animal-instinct/
So, my own go-forward insight as Tuesday turns into Wednesday: whether we’re following our hearts—or our noses—we all have something to offer the world. Gifts differing, connecting. I’ll go with that.
“To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us.” Primatologist Frans de Waal
Photo by Elucidate, Wikipedia